this is lemonade

A mindful, grateful, creative life: Life constantly hurls lemons at us. I’m on a mission to make lemonade as best I can, by God’s grace.


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{WOW Wednesdays} Plush Perfection

I haven’t done a WOW post for a while. I’ve tried really hard to make lemonade recently, but it always turns out flat. With all this grey cloud, white cloud, dark rainy cloud business it’s hard not to succumb to SAD – even though the current season was named “summer” a long time ago, I think the UK should have a specific season simply called “grey”. I love that we have long, long days in the summer here in the UK. I love that we can see blue skies from time to time, and white fluffy clouds. But for that, we also have dull grey skies, stormy, blustery rain storms and dismal, chilly nights.

I have been filled with wonder through this year so far though. It did take a while for nature to wake from its slumber in “spring”. But when it did it was relentless. At the first ray of sunshine, green sprouted everywhere. Then there was rain and everything suddenly exploded with vigour. Butterflies flitted in and out of the shrubs, robins darted back and forth hopping excitedly about doing their thing, squirrels stopped anxiously digging up supplies and checking on their dwindling larder stock…

pink peony

At the beginning of June, I started getting excited. I have a herbaceous peony plant in my garden, and it had sprung up out of the ground again as though overnight. When we moved in a couple of years ago, I didn’t know it existed. Then, a few months afterwards, some stems and leaves appeared out of nowhere. We wondered what this mysterious plant could be. It didn’t seem to be a weed and though lush looking, was decidedly bland with its long rigid stems and waxy dark green leaves. Then one day, I went out into the garden and saw some familiar, tight balls of red fringed green with some pink peeking out. I could not believe it. We had inherited a surprise. My absolute favourite flower.

pink peony

I only discovered peonies maybe ten years ago? All I remember is that there were some curiously spherical buds for sale at the supermarket. They had lovely firm stems and waxy leaves and were marked down considerably. I put them in a vase when I got home. I was intrigued when they started opening up and revealed a most amazingly soft pink clutch of petals.

pink peony

But it was the morning when I discovered that small ball had exploded into a huge lush puff of powder pink something like eight times its original size that I was completely smitten. The peony ended up being the star of my wedding bouquet. And that’s me, who isn’t really into powder pink. But this particular pink is deceptive, those petals are seriously resilient with a lovely smooth texture. The mere idea that this small, tightly packed sphere can possibly unfurl into an amazing show of abundance with such a wonderfully calming fragrance still bowls me over.

pink peony

pink peony

So you can imagine how special it was for me to discover that, hiding beneath the cold, hard, frosty soil of winter, was this wonderful plant in my garden. Waiting to surprise me. And this year, perhaps due to the strangeness of the seasons so far, there are almost twice as many buds on the plant as last year. I couldn’t help but cut one to take inside to cheer things up. Sometimes I just find myself sitting there staring at it. I am filled with this indescribable amazement and wonder. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me just to see it.

pink peony

The sun is fighting through the clouds right now. I wouldn’t call it the height of summer, but it sure is good to get some colour outside the window. I am reminded that sometimes we may struggle, sometimes things fall apart, sometimes we fall apart, but we aren’t here alone. When I look at nature, I see that we are not designed to rely upon ourselves. Looking at this flower, in its frailty, God’s design enables it to withstand the cruelty of my secateurs and still bloom to give me such enjoyment of it. I give thanks for where I am right now, in spite of not knowing where I am heading. For what it’s worth, I am also thinking of you all and keeping you in my prayers, especially if you are enduring difficulties however great or small, wherever you may be.

And below was the soundtrack for May – the wedding themes I enjoyed. They remind me of sunshine, I hope to spread some to you too (even those of you who don’t like sharing!) ;)

  1. River Flows in You – Yurima
  2. A Thousand Years – Christina Perri

(Links via Soundcloud)


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Strange goings on… an update

Apologies for the delay in getting to the bottom of something I meant to investigate a little while ago – I’m flummoxed. Well, it was actually less than a month ago but perhaps memories of mosquitoes and warm weather have tricked my brain into thinking I spotted the strange flying thing sometime in the summer.

Regrettably I have not discovered yet, what the creature is that I photographed, so as promised I am supplying a clearer image – anyone out there recognise this and can enlighten me?

What On Earth?

I’ve made too many clicks on thumbnails of insects only to bombard myself with large detailed photographs of too-much-larger-than-life creepy crawlies that do not match up. Sorry to do this to you (kind of) :P I was compelled to share the WOW moment with you – doesn’t this look like an insect in fancy dress?


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Awesome Planet

It’s been a crazy week so far. The weather goes without saying. But they say that full moons do things to people too. It’s only just got to the middle of the week, but I’ve come across too many people losing their cool this week, and getting unreasonable with others. It’s just inspiring to see the other end of the spectrum.

“Super Storm Sandy” as the media have now named it, has left so much devastation in its wake, it is quite humbling. A completely unstoppable force. However far human civilisation progresses, when it comes to nature, we can have nothing but respect. Watching footage of huge trees being completely uprooted by howling winds just leaves me awestruck. There has been such deep loss and destruction, but it is a mercy that we can see so much of that kind of footage – the fact that those trees fell onto the people’s cars who were filming and not onto them, is something to be thankful for.

Wind Map by Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg

Wind Map by Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg

I was introduced to this wonderful map yesterday, which has been created by the two leads of a Google research project. They specialise in creating visualisation graphics. The map is mesmerising and a clever way to visualise the force of the wind over North America. It helps me to  stop and remember just a little bit, how insignificant we humans are, in the context of this awesome planet. And by awesome, I do mean it literally. Especially yesterday!

We humans do need to remember our place. We are not in charge. We should not behave as though we think we are. When others do, I resolve to not mirror such attitudes in my own behaviour.

I hope that you and your loved ones are well. Take care and stay safe wherever you are in the world. Thank you for passing by today!

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